One week after commuters had complained about extortion being practised by boat operators traversing the Georgetown and Vreed-en-Hoop stellings on Sundays and holidays, Harbour Master Michael Tennant has announced that those operators can be suspended for their actions if the matter is reported.Guyana Times reported that boat operators were charging double fares on Sundays and holidays, much to the discomfiture of the travelling public.Tennant, in an interview with this publication, said passengers need to report the incidents for MARAD to act. He noted that complainants would be required to file an official report, which would require the name of the boat along with the time of the incident, since it would make the investigation easier.This newspaper was informed that boat operators usually demand a fare increase of an additional $100 when they transport half the number of passengers on this route.Passengers have also detailed cases when they were forced to pay the extra $100, some without even knowing that the additional fee is unlawful.When Guyana Times visited the Georgetown Stelling to investigate the complaint one recent Friday, some disgruntled passengers opined that the fare increase was quite burdensome and “unfair” to them. An angry passenger had said, “I ain’t get raise on my salary, so I ain’t concern with no raise of fare! I won’t go for no raise of fare!”Another frequent boat user had told Guyana Times, “I think that the fee increase on weekends and holidays is unnecessary and unacceptable. The boat captains and bowmen would have the maximum number of persons on board and still charge the $200 fee. It is a matter that should be looked into by the relevant authorities, because it’s an act of exploiting customers.”Another passenger of the water taxis had said, “We have no other choice. Sometimes — especially when they (boat operators) know that the bridge is closed — they try to exploit us, and I think that is unfair.”Still another passenger had noted being subjected to the increase predominantly on Sundays and holidays. “The double-fare being charged by boat operators on Sundays and holidays is definitely ridiculous! It’s unethical! This was never approved! I believe only persons who aren’t aware of this are the ones that are being targeted. I pay $100 on those days, especially when the boats travel with a full load,” this passenger had said.Agreeing with the statements expressed by most passengers, Trisha Patterson had said she had seen cases in which the boat operators had come over with full loads and were still demanding $200 from each passenger. She opined that the situation needed to be investigated.A bowman who spoke to this newspaper had said the fares are increased on Sundays and holidays because those are not full working days.“Sundays and holidays is $200 (charged) because we ain’t supposed to be working. So them man does come out because them ain’t got nothing fuh do (and them want) fuh try and help de passengers to get across more fast. $200 a head. Me ain’t know why them (passengers) does row, because this is de cheapest boat fare around here,” he had declared.
0Shares0000Former Colombia international Jhon Viafara (right) is accused of trafficking cocaine to the United States © AFP / RAUL ARBOLEDACALI, Colombia, Mar 20 – Former Colombia international Jhon Viafara has been arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking and could be extradited to face charges in the United States, the public prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday.The 40-year-old former midfielder was one of five people detained on Tuesday in the western city of Jamundi and Medellin, in the north west, in a joint operation between the public prosecutor’s office and the judicial police. “According to investigations conducted by US authorities, the detainees were part of a transnational network that had links to the Clan del Golfo criminal structure,” said the public prosecutor, referring to the infamous drug cartel.Viafara is suspected of having sent cocaine in speedboats and semi-submersible vessels from Colombia to the US via Central America from 2008 to 2018.He was allegedly known in the group as the “Footballer” and was in charge of paying transporters and establishing contacts to send the shipments to Central America.Police said they seized 2.5 tons of cocaine worth $28 million from Viafara’s group in 2017 and 2018.All five detainees are subject to an extradition request by the US state of Texas, where they’re wanted for drug trafficking.Viafara played one season in the English Premier League for Portsmouth and after a loan spell with Spaniards Real Sociedad, also represented Southampton in the Championship for two seasons.He had made his name in his homeland, scoring a goal as Once Caldas beat Argentina giants Boca Juniors in the 2004 Copa Libertadores final.He played more than 40 times for Colombia, scoring once, and appeared for his country at the Copa America in 2004 and 2007.He retired in 2015 after almost 20 years as a player.He’s not the first Colombian footballer to be caught up in a drug trafficking scandal.Former full back Diego Leon Osorio was sentenced in February to five years of house arrest for trying to traffick a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of cocaine to Spain.Last year, former Real Madrid and Napoli midfielder Freddy Rincon was exonerated in a drug trafficking and money-laundering case in Panama.Colombia is the world’s biggest producer of cocaine, much of which is destined for the lucrative US market.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)
Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, says the proposed Microcredit Act will be tabled in the Houses of Parliament in the next financial year, 2019/20. Story Highlights Dr. Clarke was speaking at the Rotary Club of Kingston luncheon meeting held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel on October 4. “Certainly, I am hoping for the first half of the next financial year that the Microcredit Act will be tabled and debated,” he said. Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, says the proposed Microcredit Act will be tabled in the Houses of Parliament in the next financial year, 2019/20.“Certainly, I am hoping for the first half of the next financial year that the Microcredit Act will be tabled and debated,” he said.Dr. Clarke was speaking at the Rotary Club of Kingston luncheon meeting held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel on October 4.He noted that “we are in very advanced stages of that Act. It has been through review a few times by the Chief Parliamentary Counsel and the office of the Attorney General”.When passed, the Bill will, among other things, assist in the registration of microlending companies, which provide financing to the micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) sector.It will also allow the entities to be licensed, while also providing measures for the protection of consumers.The Bill will also enable greater participation of the MSME sector in government contracts.Meanwhile, Dr. Clarke said that the Government is seeking to encourage greater competition within the economy.“The policy of this Government is a policy that is going to encourage competition, encourage private-sector representatives to compete against each other and for local companies to compete against regional and international companies,” he said.“As we foster a competitive environment where companies in search for markets, in search for your purchasing dollar, compete among themselves, the natural result is that prices will respond,” he pointed out.Dr. Clarke argued that within a competitive market, businesses will not be able to just “jack up prices, because competition means that if you do that, you can lose your business to the competitor”.“The economy that is emerging is one that is going to be built on competition and one that is going to require every fibre of your being to think about how you are going to compete and how you are going to be better than the other company,” the Finance Minister added.